Seattle-based LaserMotive has successfully demonstrated new wireless energy beaming technology that could help power a future space elevator.

LaserMotive received $900,000 prize money for its performance in the Power Beaming Challenge competition organised by Spaceward Foundation on behalf of Nasa, that demonstrated wireless power transmission to enable a robotic device to climb a vertical cable.

The ‘space elevator’ still in the concept stage, aims at developing a mode of future space travel through a cable tether fixed in space with electric vehicles climbing up and down using power beaming technology.

To win a prize, teams had to develop a power transmission system and robotic climber that could reach a height of 3,280ft.

LaserMotive’s average speed was 8.7mph over a four minute period, exceeding the average speed of 4.5mph, and was the only team to reach the top of the cable.

Nasa is interested in power-beaming technology for a range of purposes including remotely powering rovers and instruments on the moon.

On Earth, the technology might supply communities with power following natural disasters and for power beaming for airships, satellites and space transportation, including the space elevator concept.

The Challenge is a part of Nasa’s innovative partnership programme.

The programme aims to drive progress in aerospace technology for Nasa’s missions, encouraging aerospace research and development and finding innovative solutions to technical challenges through competition and cooperation.